ARK VB Bobcat Classic

Arkansas volleyball players gather around each other to formulate a game plan for the next set during the Bobcat Classic in Montana from Sept. 2-4.

The Arkansas volleyball team swept the competition to be crowned champions of the Bobcat Classic in Montana over the weekend of Sept. 2-4.

The Hogs battled host Montana State on Thursday to kick off the tournament. The Bobcats won the first two sets, putting the Razorbacks in a must-win position. Arkansas refused to give up and forced a fifth set. With the momentum on the Hogs’ side after winning the last two sets, Arkansas seemed to easily handle the deciding set with a 15-7 finish.

Senior middle blocker Ellease Crumpton had a career-high 15 kills in the match. Her previous career high of 11 came against Montana State in 2019. She also set a career-high in total kill attempts with 21, and tied her career-high in blocks with nine.

The Hogs faced Utah State in their second match of the tournament Friday. Arkansas once again found itself in a five-set thriller. The contest was not as easy as the fifth set against Montana State, but the Razorbacks prevailed in the fifth set, winning 15-13.

Many Razorbacks had potentially career-defining nights in the victory. Senior setter Gracie Ryan recorded 58 assists, moving her up to No. 8 for career assists in Razorback history, with 1,855. Junior Jillian Gillen totaled a career-high 33 kills.

The Hogs competed for the tournament title Saturday when they faced off against Portland. The Pilots were 1-1 in the tournament heading into Saturday with a win against Montana State and a loss to Utah State. Arkansas came onto the court with some fire in its final match of the tournament, taking care of business in just three sets.

Following the tournament victory, many Razorbacks received awards.

Sophomore Taylor Head was awarded tournament MVP honors. She tallied 40 kills, seven service aces and 44 digs in the tournament.

Freshman Courtney Jackson earned a spot on the all-tournament team. She finished with four service aces, 21 assists and 22 digs in Montana.

Senior Ellease Crumpton also received a spot on the all-tournament team. She recorded 29 total kills and 17 blocks in the Bobcat Classic.

Next up, the Hogs will take on Oral Roberts in the first match of the Tulsa Invitational on Friday at 10:00 a.m.

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